Last month, our youngest daughter got married on Rowe’s wharf in Boston. During the unique ceremony—which featured a symbolic Celtic knot-tying tradition—the minister wove in some humorous lines from The Princess Bride, an iconic favorite movie of Hannah, her husband and virtually all the guests.
Recently I’ve been musing about main character Westley’s unswerving devotion to Buttercup (the Princess Bride herself) as expressed by his cheerfully responding to her every demand—no matter how petty or selfish—with “As you wish.” At first, his love was not reciprocated. Buttercup treated him as a common servant, failing to notice his noble character. But his loyalty, patience and numerous self-sacrificing actions on her behalf won the lady’s heart by the movie’s end:
That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying “As you wish”, what he meant was, “I love you.” And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back. (The Princess Bride 1987)
I’ve always viewed the fictional Westley as a Christ-like figure, a swashbuckling symbol of unconditional love, willing to serve and even die for someone who doesn’t love him. (Romans 5:6-8).
In 1980 I married a real-life Westley named Bob Libert, a servant-hearted engineer possessing a broad range of handyman skills with which he was eager to grant my every need or request. Now, 36 years later, he still says “Just tell me what you need/want and I’ll fix/build it for you.” Yes, that’s a bit wordier than “as you wish,” but it still means “I love you.” My husband just completed his latest act of love: a 3-stage composting system made of shipping pallets (see below) . . . a simple, inexpensive “green” idea I found online to replace our old rotted compost bin. As always, Bob creatively improved on the design for my benefit.
The title of this post alludes to FOUR real-life Westleys. So who are the other three? If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know my view of sex education at home is not limited to “one big talk” with our children about reproductive biology. It also involves continuously communicating and role-modeling the elements of a strong, happy, albeit imperfect marital relationship throughout our kids’ formative years so they will more likely choose worthy spouses and enjoy lifelong marriages. There are no absolute guarantees, but Bob and I are grateful that God has guided our daughters’ decision-making . . . the other three Westleys are our sons-in-law, Erick, Nick and Scott. They cherish our daughters, and it is a joy to observe each husband expressing “as you wish” in his own unique way.
Loving congratulations to Scott & Hannah . . . our newest Westley and his princess bride!